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Spellbound Dazzle interview (03/2012)

With: Branko Stekovic
Conducted by: Doc G. (e-mail)
Published: 17.03.2012

Doc: You recently released the debut Unreal FairyTales, have you read any reviews? What have you found the overall feedback to be like so far?

Branko: We're very glad about all the reviews we've received till now, behind every album there is a lot of work and the best way for having some satisfaction is to read a good review and watching your fans while singing your songs during a live show. Some of the reviews were written by some of the best european metal magazines and also worldwide. Most of them were high score reviews, so it is even better than we were expecting them to be.

Doc: Now that the album has been out for a few months, do you find the bands popularity has exploded at all? How have things been picking up for the band?

Branko: Well, we still have to wait before we start talking of huge popularity, we're probably going in the right direction, but we still have a lot of work to do before Spellbound Dazzle gets to be a famous band. We never give up and also thanks to all of you who gives us so much support, it is a good reason for us to keep going like this and making more music.

Doc: Listening to your album, it seems you pull in influences from all across the map, what are some of your biggest influences?

Branko: Well, it's a quiet huge mixture of influences, from Queen to Metallica and also from Elvis Presley to Tom Jones but most of all ex-Jugoslavian popular (folk) and rock music influences. Me and my brother have listened any kind of balkanic music since we were children, so it is in our blood and we feel we want to share it with the world, it is our roots and also the only possible way left for us to "get in touch" with our "ex-country" so the music is like a connecting gate between nowadays time and the past, a parallel world where we feel at home. Further, if you want the truth, there are also a thousand bands that we take inspiration from: The Beatles, Extreme, Fear Factory and also pop and classic music and everything else we like to take inspiration from.

Doc: As a musician, what would be your #1 inspiration above all else?

Branko: It is so difficult to answer to this one, because we don't have a favourite band except for Stefano, who loves Dream Theater most of all. It's what we feel about music and being musicians as well, makes it almost impossible to explain and at the same time music means a lot to us and a world without music wouldn't be possible. It is the music itself that we take inspiration from and out of this we make other music then put in some sentimental stuff like love, hate, life, death and then Unreal FairyTales came out from our sick minds. Personally, every band I loved and every band I still love, they're on the same level to me, they all make different genres and so they transmit different feelings and different emotions and I love to hear them all, so I just can't say what is the best but I could try. Dimebag Darrell from Pantera was my favourite guitar player and an inspiring person with a lot of personality.

Doc: What do you think your target audience is for your music? Obviously the music is appealing to a wide variety of people, but do you think your primary audience is metal fans, classic rock fans, pop-rock fans etc?

Branko: We think there shouldn't be only one kind of fans listening to the appropriate music, at least not always. For sure we play a modern rock-pop-metal music (or whatever it is) and some classic rock and metal fans could not appreciate it, but when we play gigs, most of the times we have ordinary people wearing ordinary clothes and also girls who usually don't like so much metal music and just a 10% of real metalheads dressing black t-shirts and having long hair. So I think it's a sort of pop rock audience. However it doesn't matter to us if they are rock or pop or metal or classic music fans, we just respect people music tastes and love all our fans.

Doc: Taking a look at the album title Unreal FairyTales; it may lead
someone to believe it's a concept album of sorts, is this so? Or is it more of a
collection of stories and sounds?

Branko: Yes it is a collection of different unreal stories and every song gives an example of this. Actually 'SBD', 'In My Room' and 'Monster', are based on some real and personal facts of life. Some songs are just invented stories like 'Spaceman': this song talks about a "space head hunter" who's trying to catch the spaceman (the red devil on the cover) and he's been doing that for centuries and centuries, and now they have come to meet, will the hunter take him? The story is located in a parallel universe so as you can imagine it's inspired on some movies like Van Helsing and also some cartoons that I don't quiet remember now, Im sorry.

Doc: From what I've read in some interviews, the band started with Kreso on drums, then decided to switch to vocals. Why was this decision made?

Branko: I admit that my brother is still a good drum player, and the decision was not easy, we were forced to do it. We were looking for a singer, and after a while we saw that it was impossible to find someone who we were exactly looking for. Then Kreso said: "let's try it different." So we changed our plans and started to look for a drummer. There were tho main reasons about this change: first one is because we were living in a small town where good drummers were easier to find than good singers, and I'm not trying to offend anybody, but that's the fact, and the second reason is Kreso's unique voice which is a way more appropriate for what we need (I mean musically). However that seemed to be a succeeding solution which lasted till now.

Doc: Did Kreso have any vocal training prior to this?

Branko: No, except all the rehearsals we do every week and except the piano lessons my brother had when he was 12. Kreso is a self taught musician he was always singing and imitating any kind of voice or sound he heard. I remember him since we were children while imitating our father when singing with his friends during any party, he was also making the same sound of any machine, while working and so on. So now you try to think how I felt about this for all these years and how I could stand it till now!?!? You should see me, Stefano, and Dante's faces when we are out all together. Ha ha ha... I'm just kidding, because we only have a good time.

Doc: So half the band is from Croatia, the other from Italy. How does this effect the song writing? Is there much cultural influence in the sounds you go for?

Branko: For sure the whole album is culturally mixed. We get well together and also became good friends, we're almost like brothers. We have different styles and music tastes, but when you put all our ideas together there comes out Spellbound Dazzle songs. We often have some different opinions while we are composing a song and sometimes we don't have the same idea about it, then we just leave it all and go for a beer and than back again we finish the song. I guess it happens in any band, but the best is when it's me and my brother who start to "fight" in Serbian-Croatian while composing so Dante and Stefano just look at each other laughing and imitating us. They already know some main bad words in our language thanks to us.

Doc: 'Ruska' is a song that really stands out amongst all the others why did you limit the accordion-polka sound to just one song instead of using it as a staple in your music?

Branko: We have a lot of other songs in "Ruska" style but also a lot of different stuff other than polka songs. We just wanted to put them all in this album, because we don't wanna be only one style band. Maybe 'Ruska' is a funny rock polka song that easily captures anyone's attention and it is also a dancing song so I know that it wouldn't be a bad idea, if we used it as a staple element of our music, in fact this is one of our future project options. Another thing is that Unreal FairyTales sounds heavy and it's the reason why most of the worldwide reviews were metal webzines and rock metal magazines reviews, don't get me wrong, we really love all the good feedback we have received, but we don't want to be identified only such as a metal band and if we were given back the opportunity to make a new record we'll show you what we're talking about. We love the music we make and each song we create no matter if it's a metal song, a ballad, a classic music song or a polka pop rock song, we only want to be creative and don't want to get stuck in only one style because it would be boring.

Doc: If you could only choose 1 song off of Unreal FairyTales to get people into Spellbound Dazzle, which song would it be?

Branko: It's easy, that would be "SBD"!!! It is the song that most reflects us and it is also self dedicated. Kreso wrote the lyrics of this song while he was at work, so day by day he got forth with it taking care of not being seen by anyone. Maybe it is not so easy to sing along to it but yes, it's certainly SBD.

Doc: If someone was to go see Spellbound Dazzle live, which song
would they NEED to know to sing along to? Which song gets the crowd moving and
singing along the most?

Branko: We give you two answers: may be songs like 'Fooling of Eachother' or the ballad 'In My Room' are a way too easier to sing along to, but 'Ruska' is a funny song that anyone can dance with and sing along to, metalheads, rockers and non. It only stops, when the "christmas chorus" comes in then it goes on like hell. Even people who never heard it before start moving and dancing with it, so it is the right choice with any doubt.

Doc: Can you name any other newer bands out there that are doing the kind of
eclectic music you guys are playing?

Branko: Well I actually don't know about new things, it's a busy period for all of us and we should need more free time for listening to new bands. Anyway we're listening to some newer bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Alterbridge, but they're probably not the right example.

Doc: Unreal FairyTales covers a lot of ground, especially considering it's only a debut. How do you guys plan on expanding this sound and following up with your next album?

Branko: The new songs we are recording will all keep the same Unreal FairyTales style, I'm talking about the difficulty to identify the music we play, some said it's rock, some other said it's metal, than they said it's folk, and pop metal and so on and on. We also have the same problem when anyone comes to us asking "what kind of music do you guys play?" That was a "problem" since ever, but one thing is sure: when you'll hear any of the new songs even if they will have a different sound of Unreal FairyTales I bet you will recognize us and will say: that's the crazy half Italians band Spellbound Dazzle. We'll give our best and the experience we took from this album will also be with us, but do never expect the same things from us, because we try to put our souls in each song we make, that means that it's been passed three years since we've made Unreal FairyTales and a lot of things have changed in between, such like our feelings and if you think that every song is made of feelings they can never be the same, you know what I mean? But we're pretty sure that you will like our new songs, and enjoy the whole album.

Doc: Thank you for your time. Is there any thing else you'd like to say to the Metal Storm readers?

Branko: Thank you for everything, salute to your readers and fans, you're giving us a great support, it is very important for us to grow up and hope to see you all one day in your country for having some fun together!!! Thank you from Spellbound Dazzle!

Posted on 17.03.2012 by Former EIC. Now just a reviewer guy.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 107 users
17.03.2012 - 08:52
gloom cookie
Wow, he said Serbo-Croatian... he must be Yugonostalgic. That's quite cute.

(if no one gets thise, ask me to expand on the comment I guess)
7.0 means the album is good
17.03.2012 - 10:13
The guy's pic is hilarious.
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29

Like you could kiss my ass.

My Instagram
17.03.2012 - 16:19
gloom cookie
Written by BloodTears on 17.03.2012 at 10:13

The guy's pic is hilarious.

He looks like he's been complimented in some hilarious way, so it's a mix between:

7.0 means the album is good
19.03.2012 - 18:34
Great interview!!! This was certainly some of the must special and unique music from last year; it's great to hear the thoughts behind it

Can't wait for their next album!!!
"A life all mine
Is what I choose
At the end of my days"
--The Gathering "A Life All Mine" from Souvenirs

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